Camera to catch speeders worth $80k stolen from Providence neighborhood

Prov. Police photo of suspect vehicle

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brazen thieves made off with a large camera system used to catch speeding drivers – valued at $80,000 – in broad daylight less than one week after it was installed.

On Monday, police were called to Peace St. in Providence by a representative from company Conduent Solutions to report one of their “speed cameras” was missing, according to a police report. The equipment – which looks like two gray boxes on top of each other – is used to take pictures of license plates on cars that are breaking the posted speed limit.

Image of a traffic camera system similar to the one stolen.

The company representative told police they installed a series of these cameras throughout the city last week, and when he returned to the Peace Street location to run a test on the equipment, it was missing.

“The unit had previously been lag-bolted to the ground,” detectives wrote in the police report.

According to the police report, the camera is a made up of two pieces roughly four feet high, “the top containing the camera and has glass port holes in front and the bottom houses a 130 pound lithium battery.”

Police are investigating it as a “larceny of speed camera equipment valued at $80,000.”

Detectives were able to obtain surveillance video from a nearby building which captured images of two people exiting “a large possible Dodge extended bed pickup truck.” They later strapped the camera unit to the bed of the truck. The video shows the theft happened around noon on Jan. 12, just three days after the equipment was installed.

Prov. Police photo of suspect vehicle taken from surveillance system

A spokesperson for Conduent Solutions didn’t immediately return an email for comment.

In July, Conduent reached an agreement with the city to install additional red light cameras throughout the city – growing the number from 25 to 45 – with the city is projecting it will generate $3.65 million in revenue from its traffic camera program in the current fiscal year.

Victor Morente, a spokesperson for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, said five speed cameras were installed throughout the city in the past month.

“State legislation was passed in 2016 allowing automated speed enforcement within ¼ mile of a schools to ensure safe conditions for drivers and pedestrians in the areas,” Morente said in an email.

Police are asking anyone with information to call detectives at (401) 243-6406.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook